Alleged $49.8 billion Oil Theft: The Role I Played – Amaechi
The Transport Minister, Mr Chibuike Amaechi has denied media reports surrounding a letter written by the Emir of Kano, Sanusi Muhammad II while he was in office as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, addressed to the former president Goodluck Jonathan on the non-remittance of a $49.8 billion oil sale proceeds into the Federal account.
The Transport Minister yesterday denied reports circulating that he was in fact the individual behind the document leak.
The Minister in a statement released by his media office said: “To put the records straight, we want to categorically state that a concerned and patriotic Nigerian who felt sufficiently troubled with what was happening then, gave a copy of the Sanusi letter to Amaechi, in Amaechi’s capacity, at the time, as Chairman of Nigerian Governors’ Forum, NGF. Like Amaechi, we should appreciate that concerned Nigerian’s patriotism.
“When Amaechi got the letter, he spoke with Sanusi, who was still the CBN governor, to confirm the authenticity of the letter. Sanusi confirmed to Amaechi that he wrote the letter. During their conversation, Amaechi made it abundantly clear to the then CBN governor that the bleeding of the nation had to be stopped, all non-remitted funds remitted and that he (Amaechi) was going to use the letter to do whatever was in the best interest of the nation and Nigerians, which was the stoppage of the non-remittance and the recovery of all the non-remitted funds from oil sale. The CBN governor didn’t agree with Amaechi on the way forward.
“Considering that the letter was given to Amaechi as Chairman of the Governors’ Forum, he shared the letter with his colleague governors first, and with Senator Bukola Saraki (now Senate President), who before and around that period, was doing some work or/and investigation around the oil sector in the Senate.
“Around that period, a delegation from the United States of America government, from the offices of the Secretaries of State and Defense, visited Amaechi in Port Harcourt to discuss the issue of oil theft in Nigeria. From their records, they gave Amaechi figures of about $7 billion, annually, that was being lost to oil theft in Nigeria. They were discussing the issue and figures of oil theft, and that was how the CBN governor’s letter to President Jonathan came up.
“In the presence of journalists covering the visit, Amaechi brought out the Sanusi letter to the visiting American delegation to buttress the point that Nigeria was losing far more money to non-remittance of proceeds from oil sale into the Federation Account, which everyone seemed to concur, was in itself, another form and another dimension to the issue of oil theft.
“To suggest, infer or even extrapolate that Amaechi surreptitiously, clandestinely or underhandedly ‘leaked’ the CBN governor’s (Sanusi’s) letter is indeed most unfair, disrespectful and uncharitable to his person. Amaechi did what he did because he believed that the theft and corruption was just too much.
“He was propelled by his patriotic zeal to put Nigeria first, do what was in the best interest of the nation, and stop the bleeding of our collective resources by a few. The mind boggling corruption revelations in the recent past, that is still ongoing, clearly justifies and vindicates Amaechi’s stance on the issue and the actions he took. Faced with the same situation, under similar circumstances, Amaechi will not act differently. The good of Nigeria, putting the nation and Nigerians first, will always be his guiding principle.”